2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Eclipses Brazil 97-36 To Close Week-Long Florida Training Camp
May 31, 2012 • Orlando, Florida
Ten days after the selection of the 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team and following six training sessions, the U.S. squad downed Brazil 97-36 on Thursday evening in an exhibition contest at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North H.S. / North Syracuse, N.Y.) led five U.S. players in double-digit scoring with 25 points to go with five rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots; while Brittney Sykes (University H.S. / Newark, N.J.) notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists.
The North Americans, who saw all 11 available players put up points, were further aided by 15 points from Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S. / Bolingbrook, Ill.), Bashaara Graves (Clarksville H.S. / Clarksville, Tenn.) scored 14 points and Alexis Prince (Edgewater / Orlando, Fla.) tossed in 10.
“You have to be pleased after an effort like that,” said Katie Meier, USA U18 National Team and University of Miami head coach. “We started 31-0 and our team defense was incredible. It’s a very unselfish team, and they care about what we ask them to care about. We asked them to care about shutting down lanes and not giving up layups, and they did. They swarmed the ball, and they played for each other. It was a lot of fun.
“We’ve had six practices, and to be able play that team defense is impressive. I thought we shared the ball very, very well. Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck set the tone. They are the captains, and they are just doing a great job.”
The game marked the second of the day’s double-header, the first of which featured the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team against Brazil. The U.S. U17s defeated Brazil 80-38 in what was originally scheduled to be a game pitting the U17 teams from each country, while the USA U18s were slated to compete against the Brazil U18 squad. Due to travel issues, however, only 12 of the 24 South Americans were able to make it to Florida and one of the 12 suffered an ankle injury earlier in the week. Thus, Brazil’s 11 available players did double duty and competed in back-to-back games.
“It was fun tonight getting out there and playing a game,” said Stewart. “It was official with us in our game jerseys and everything. It was a lot of fun to get into the flow with your teammates. I think we had fun out there tonight.
“Brazil was a little tired because they just played two games, but I thought we ran the court well and we jumped off to a great start,” she added.
Rolling to a 31-0 advantage to open the contest, the U.S., which upped its lead to 51-11 at halftime, was never seriously threatened by the depleted South American squad.
The USA shot a blistering 53.7 percent (36-67 FGs) from the field and a sizzling 53.3 percent (8-15 3pt FGs) from beyond the arc, while holding Brazil to just 20.0 percent (13-65 FGs) overall and an icy 7.7 percent (1-13 3pt FGs) from 3-point. Owning a 46-44 edge on the glass, the United States dished out 23 assists and forced 22 turnovers.
Isabela Macedo, who played 17 minutes and scored a team-high 11 points against the USA U17s, shot 8-of-10 from the line and finished with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds in her second game, in addition to four assists and three steals.
Moriah Jefferson (Texas Home Educators Sports Association / Glenn Heights, Texas) was resting a sore left hand and did not compete against Brazil.
Collegiate head coaches Nikki Caldwell of Louisiana State University and Kelly Graves of Gonzaga University will act as assistant coaches for the U18 team.
The exhibition game concludes the USA’s week-long Florida training camp. The USA squad will reconvene at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for its final training camp Aug. 4-12, prior to traveling to Puerto Rico for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
“Training camp has been really fun. I’m glad that I got to meet a lot of new people. Training along with the U17s you get to meet people that you’ll see in the future playing in college and hopefully as pros. It’s just been a great week.”
The U18 Championship, held in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, Aug. 15-19, will see the three medal-winning teams secure a berth in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women. The FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
The U.S. was drawn into Group A, along with Argentina, Columbia and the Dominican Republic; while Group B consists of Brazil, Canada, Mexico and host Puerto Rico. The USA will open play against the Dominicans on Aug. 15, followed by Argentina on Aug. 16 and close out preliminary play against Columbia on Aug. 17. The top two finishing teams from each group advance to the Aug. 18 medal semifinals, and the finals will be contested Aug. 19. The three medal-winning teams will qualify for the 2013 FIBA U19 Worlds.
FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the event was held every four years beginning in 1988. FIBA changed its calendar and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.
USA women’s teams boast of a remarkable 38-2 overall record in U18/Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, while capturing silver medals in 1992 and 1996. In fact, the USA has not lost a game at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship since 1996 and is riding a 24-0 winning streak into this year’s competition.
Some of the athletes who have represented the U.S. in this event in the past include: Jayne Appel (2006); Alana Beard (2000); Kelsey Bone (2008); Tamika Catchings (1996); Marissa Coleman (2004); Skylar Diggins (2008); Sonja Henning (1988); Niesa Johnson (1992); Rebecca Lobo (1992); Maya Moore (2006); Chiney Ogwumike (2010); Nneka Ogwumike (2008); Candace Parker (2004); Courtney Paris (2004); Cappie Pondexter (2000); Nicole Powell (2000); Lynn Pride (1996); Diana Taurasi (2000); and Candice Wiggins (2004).